Recently, one of my longest standing private coaching clients called me to start one of our regular coaching calls. I have found over my many years of coaching that there is one key issue to be addressed and resolved during each call, so I usually start each conversation by asking a question something like: “What’s on your mind today” or “Is there something specific we need talk about?”.
The answer is always yes!
This very quickly got us to talking about his biggest current challenge, issue or problem. On this occasion he told me that he had recently proposed a solution to a prospective client, a few weeks had passed, and he had heard nothing and none of his follow up messages had been returned. His prospective client had gone quiet! He didn’t know what to do or how best to get the prospect to respond.
We discussed the elements involved for a while, firstly by looking into all the possible reasons why the prospect might have gone quiet and what options might be available to him.
Before we could come up with a solution, I suggested we start our thinking by reviewing why and how clients make investment decisions. After a little time, we managed to produce the attached list of issues and questions that a client might have or might need to ask themselves:
- What is our real problem?
- What problem does this proposal solve and does it align with our problem?
- Why do we need this solution?
- What are the likely results we can expect from making this investment?
- Are there any alternatives?
- If we invest, how will we know when we’ve been successful?
These questions seemed to really focus our minds. I then asked:
“Could he ever remember an occasion when he failed to respond to someone’s telephone call or e-mail”?
He could, and the main reasons centred around in-house issues that seemed more important at the time, or he had received a family related call that had distracted him.
Identifying Potential Reasons
So, we decided to put together a list of reasons why a client might be reluctant or not be able to respond and what might be the questions at the back of their minds that might be preventing any action. Fortunately, my client had produced a list of specific questions and objections that he had ran into regularly over the years. We took those objections and answered them in a completely unbiased and honest way. One question took some time to answer fully e.g.: “What could go wrong with the implementation of a system like yours?”
He then agreed to produce a document that he would send to his prospective client (and other prospects in the future). He also promised to raise those same questions/objections every time he contacted a new prospect, to post them on his website and raise them in his social media feeds.
This call turned out to be a very constructive conversation because a few weeks later I received an e-mail from my client saying that he had indeed received an order from this client and was proceeding with the installation of the system.
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